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Wise Family Funeral to expand parking lot; add crematory

A rendering of the site plan for Wise Funeral Home in Hastings is pictured. The plans include an addition of a crematory to the existing building. Photo courtesy of City of Hastings

As a result of what they like to call wise choices, Wise Family Funeral and Cremation Services in Hastings will be expanding their parking lot and adding a crematory to the existing building located at 400 Spring St.

Hastings City Council approved the site plans April 16 allowing them to move forward with the project. Local builder and contractor Greg Stotko of Stotko Speedling Construction will be overseeing the project slated to begin within the next couple weeks.

The expanded parking lot will go from 23 parking stalls to 50. The expansion will be added to the lot next to the funeral home where a house fire resulted in knocking down the remaining structure last summer.

They also knew they wanted to add a crematory to make everything in house and the timing was right because the city had just approved the crematory at Caturia, Smidt and Starkson Funeral Home in town.

"Now was the time to approach it because the city was educated; they knew what they were talking about," said Community Outreach Director Melissa Stevens. "It was kind of a hot-button topic at the time."

Wise Family Funeral owner Michael Wise said they currently transport someone's loved one to an off-site cremation service if they wish to be cremated. The addition of the crematory will keep everything local.

"It's just a big plus, just nice to know they are in our control the whole time," Michael said.

In addition to the parking lot and crematory, smaller changes have been slowly updating the interior decor. New paint on the walls gave the inside a fresh look and Eye Candy's Lacy Quail helped decorate the seating area. Stevens said they were going for a warm and inviting feeling.

"We wanted this to be like a big living room, we don't want it to feel like a funeral home," Michael added.

The change in decor is reflective of their values which include family, kindness, compassion and empathy.

"When someone loses a loved one they truly become part of our family and we want them to feel that we're going to take care of them through that because it's a hard time for people," said Sarah Wise-Schwieger, advanced planning consultant.

The new addition with the crematory will be an extension of the new interior decor. It will have some of the same paint colors and accents keeping the warm and inviting vibe flowing throughout the building.

Michelle Wirth

Michelle Wirth graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in 2013 with a degree in journalism and web design. She worked as a web content editor for a trade association before coming to the Hastings Star Gazette in 2016.

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